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Topical - The Da Vinci Code Examined

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Introduction: 

Titus 1:9 says that the overseers in the church are not only to exhort in sound doctrine, but they are to “refute those who contradict.”

Tonight is one of those nights, once again, where we felt it necessary to pause from our verse by verse teaching through the word of God to refute some of the popular false teachings that that have been put forth in thee enormously popular book called: The Da Vinci Code.

The Da Vinci Code was written by Dan Brown, a former English teacher, and was released in March of 2003.

This book is adversely influencing the way millions of people think about...

--Jesus

--the Bible

--the Gospel

--and the Church.

Today (figures below are from April 2006) just three years since its publication, the book has…

●    sold approximately 40 million copies

●    become one of the most widely read books of all time

●    earned Dan Brown more than $355 million

TIME Magazine named Dan Brown one the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2005.

The Da Vinci Code is not only influencing people here in the U.S. but it is having an impact around the world. To date, the book has been translated into 44 different languages!

The views of Dan Brown, are going to have an even greater impact in just a few weeks. Columbia Pictures has made the book into a movie, directed by Ron Howard that will star Tom Hanks in the lead role. The worldwide movie release date:  May 19, 2006

To say that a tidal wave of fresh skepticism regarding the Christian faith is about to be unleashed by the movie would be the understatement of the year.

I believe that this movie is going to have an enormous, long term, negative impact on the credibility of the Christian faith.

The book (and we are led to believe the same will be true about the movie) launches repeated attacks against Christian beliefs, even going so far as to say:

“…almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” (p. 235)

Although the views of Dan Brown are put forth in a fictional book, they are said to be based upon historical facts.

Dan Brown has said…

“One of the many qualities that makes The Da Vinci Code unique is the factual nature of the story. All the history, artwork, ancient documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate--as are the hidden codes revealed in some of Da Vinci's most famous paintings.”

Over and over in The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown erroneously asserts that the historical information he shares with his reader is supported by:

●  “religious historians” (p. 36)

●  “well-documented history” (pp. 88, 113)

●  “art historians” (p. 134)

●  “all academics” (p. 158)

●  “well-documented evidence” (p. 217)

●  and “scores of historians” (p. 253)

So, what can we (as Christians) do?

1. It goes without saying, that we need to be praying for the people who will go and see the movie.

2. We need to prepare ourselves to answer the questions that people will have.

To help you be prepared for the movie, this morning I want to examine some quotes right from the book and respond to them.

First, I will tell you a little bit about the plot.

Overview of The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code is a modern day, murder mystery.

The book begins with the mysterious murder of a museum curator at the Louvre in Paris, the famous museum that houses the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Near the body of the dead curator, police find a mysterious writing (a cipher).

While working to solve the cryptic message, Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of symbology, and Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist, [one who studies cryptic codes] discover a trail of clues hidden in the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci

Solving the riddle leads these two individuals, Robert and Sophie on a pursuit all over France and England in search of the Holy Grail, (that mythological cup that some believe caught Jesus’ blood during his crucifixion).

Their search for the Holy Grail ends with the discovery that the Holy Grail is not a cup but rather a person, Mary Magdalene, whom the book says was...

--the wife of Jesus

--the mother of their child Sarah

--and the person whom Jesus chose to lead the church after His death

According to The Da Vinci Code, these and many other truths about Christianity have been suppressed by the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years but secretly handed down through the centuries by a secret society known as the Priory of Sion.

This secret society, Brown says, included such well know persons as...

--Isaac Newton

(1642 - 1747, mathematician, physicist, scientific intellect, discoverer of the universal laws of gravitation)

--Leonardo da Vinci,

   (1452 - 1519, painter, architect, engineer, mathematician and philosopher)

...who, according to Brown, hid clues about these matters in his painting of “The Last Supper.”

Many scholarly articles, books, and even TV programs have come out exposing the fact that the “secret files” about this Priory of Sion found at a French library upon which Brown builds his case, were actually a hoax.

There is no evidence that Leonardo da Vinci was a member of a secret society, or that such a society even existed back in that day.

One of the challenges in putting together an hour long study on this book was deciding which errors to address.

The book is jam packed with historical error, deception, and a variety of falsehoods. There are easily 50 or more passages in the book that contain errors of one sort or another.

Obviously we will only have time to look at a handful or two of these. I’ve broken down some of the errors in the book into five categories.

You’ll be able to remember them, with the acronym C.O.D.E.S.

First we’ll see that Dan Brown errs when he speaks of the...

            1. Corruption of the Scriptures

            2. Origin of the Deity of Christ

            3. Development of Sunday Worship

            4. Establishment of the Canon of Scripture

            5. Singleness of our Lord

Let’s first consider how the book errs when it speaks of...

1. The Corruption of the Scriptures

Brown asserts in his book...

“…The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” (p. 231)

Obviously we would agree with the first part of this statement.

“…The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds.”

The Bible itself tells us in...

2 Peter 1:21

“...holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” NKJV

God superintended the writings of more than 40 different authors whom He inspired to make sure that what He wanted written was actually written.

We also know that the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts of the Bible have been translated into numerous translations.

The Wycliffe Bible Translation members and their coworkers alone have translated the New Testament into 578 languages thus far.

But for Dan Brown to continue the popular myth that the Bible we have today is unreliable because it has “evolved” through numerous “additions, and revisions” betrays the fact that Brown is ignorant of the facts surrounding the transmission of the Biblical text or has purposefully thrown the facts aside to advance his own agenda.

There are two pools of evidence that prove conclusively that the text of the Bible has not undergone corruption or change down through the centuries.

A. The Manuscript Evidence

Manuscript? What is a manuscript?

A manuscript is a hand-written copy of an ancient document that predates the invention of the printing press in 1455.

Today there survive 24,633, partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament alone, not to mention the tens of thousands of Old Testament manuscripts that survive today dating back to as early as the third century B.C.

These hand written manuscripts have allowed scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the New Testament that we have in our possession today is the same New Testament that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago. 

There also exists today tens of thousands of manuscript copies of the Old Testament proving that the Old Testament was transmitted accurately down through the centuries.

There was an amazing discovery in 1947.

In Israel a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep in Qumran, north and to the west of the Dead Sea in Israel, made an amazing discovery while looking for a lost sheep.

There in Qumran, in a hillside cave that had laid untouched for nearly two thousand years, he discovered an ancient collection of hand written copies of the Old Testament.

These scrolls had been hidden in caves by the Essenes, a Jewish sect living in Qumran, 2,000 years ago.

These scrolls and writings, now known as “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” represented every book of the Old Testament except the Book of Esther.

They are considered one of the greatest discoveries in modern times.

These Old Testament manuscripts predate the time of Christ’s birth all the way back to the third century B.C.

It’s manuscript copies of the Old Testament like this that have allowed Biblical scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Old Testament that we have today is the same Old Testament that the Jewish community had before Christ was even born.

The skeptic asks, “How do they know that the Dead Sea Scrolls date back to before Christ?”

Scholars determined the age of the scrolls by examining…

1. The pottery that housed the manuscripts      

2. The weave and pattern of the manuscript cloths                                                                

3. The form of the characters      

4. The spelling of the words                         

5. The coins found alongside the manuscripts

6. Carbon-14 dating methods were also applied by the University of Chicago     

You can view some of these manuscripts yourself in places like the British Museum, the Cambridge University Library, the Smithsonian Institute, Oxford University, and the National Library at Paris.

Now, even if we did not have any manuscript copies of the Bible, there is another way of verifying that the Bible has not undergone corruption, and that is by examining…

B. The Writings of the Church Fathers.

By church fathers we are referring to those leaders in the Church, of the first two centuries A.D. that followed the original disciples.

            Men like Polycarp. Justin Martyr. Tertullian. Eusebius.

These men in their writings and correspondence with other believers and other churches quote NT Scripture over and over again.

If you add up these quotes (and the others like them), the church fathers quoted the gospels an amazing 19,368 times! [Norman Geisler, Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 529-530]

In fact, the early church fathers refer to the NT Scriptures over 86,000 times.

There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single manuscript copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct 99.86% of the New Testament that we have today. There were only 11 verses in the New Testament that were never quoted by the Church Fathers.

These quotes have served as a secondary but valuable witness to the manuscript evidence and trustworthiness of the Bible!!!

                                                                      

For Brown to assert that the Bible “has evolved through countless…additions, and revisions” again demonstrates either his ignorance of the facts, or his willingness to go against the facts.

A second area that Dan Brown errs in has to do with…

2. The Origin of the Deity of Christ

The book says...

“At this gathering [the Council of Nicea] many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus….until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet, a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”

Sophie says...

“Not the Son of God?”

Teabing...

“Right. Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.”

Sophie...

“Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”

Teabing says...

 “A relatively close vote at that.” (p. 233)

Dan Brown suggests here that…

--the deity of Christ was a late invention by the church

--it was proposed at the council of Nicea

--and that it barely passed.

For the person who is unfamiliar with…

            --the Bible

            --church history

            --or what happened at the council of Nicea

            …this might easily be believed.

What was the council of Nicea?

The council at Nicea in modern day Turkey was a gathering of 318 Bishops (church leaders from all over the Roman Empire) in A.D. 325 to discuss doctrines related to the person of Jesus.

This meeting was hardly the place where it first proposed that Jesus was actually God, as Brown suggests.

That belief was already firmly in place as the popular teaching of the church.

In the fourth century there was a man by the name of Arius (256 -336) who was causing some disputes throughout the Roman Empire as it related to the person of Jesus.

Arius reasoned that since Jesus was “begotten,” (Jn. 3:16) He must have had a beginning.

His false teachings regarding Jesus became known as Arianism.

Arianism denied the eternality of Jesus.

Followers of his teaching, known as Arians, held that the divine nature of Christ was similar to God, but not the same.

The Council of Nicea, this gathering together of the Bishops, condemned this teaching in 325 A.D. and reaffirmed what the Bible already taught...

...That Jesus had the very same nature as God.

Was it a close vote?

You tell me.

There were 318 bishops that were called to the meeting in Nicea.

As for the vote that was finally taken, only five out of 318 dissented; and only two of those five refused to sign the resulting resolutions, which reaffirmed the prevailing view of the church: Jesus was and is God.

Hardly a close vote, as Brown suggests in his book!!!

Allow me to read to you from official creed that came out of Nicea. We call it the Nicene Creed.

“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

“Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.”

You can see for yourself the very high view the early church leaders had of Jesus.

Referring to Him as...

            --“very God of very God”

            --“begotten, not made”

316 of the 318 early church leaders signed on to that resolution.

Dan Brown calls a 316 to 2 vote regarding Jesus’ deity...

“A relatively close vote” (p. 233)

Can you imagine a basketball team being beaten 316 to 2 and then the losing team telling people afterwards that it was, “A relatively close game”?

It is a historical fact that the deity of Christ was the prevailing view of the church long before the days of Constantine and the Council of Nicea.

A. The Deity of Christ in the Bible

In fact, nearly three hundred years before the Council of Nicea even before the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, the deity of Christ was already being acknowledged by Christ’s disciples.

The New Testament documents are full of affirmations of Christ’s deity.

For instance...

--Thomas, called Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

--Paul calls Jesus “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)


--John called Jesus God in the opening verse of his Gospel where he said that “the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

--Jesus took the name of God in the Old Testament “I AM” (Ex. 3:14) and applied it to Himself in John 8:58. 

--He also said that God was His Father, resulting in some of his listeners trying to stone Him for making Himself “equal with God.” (Jn. 5:18, 10:33).

The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, foretold the Messiah’s deity.

Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” NKJV

                                                             

B. The Deity of Christ and the Church Fathers

In addition to the testimony of the disciples, and Christ Himself, there is the testimony of the church fathers, in the 2nd century, still long before the fourth century Council of Nicea.

Men like...

Ignatius

Polycarp

Justin Martyr

Irenaeus

Clement of Alexandria,

...over and over in their writings, affirm that Jesus was God incarnate.

Ignatius (A.D. 30 – 98 and 117) alone, the Bishop of Antioch, referred to Jesus in His writings with such words . . .

“Jesus Christ our God”

“Jesus...who is God and man”

“Suffer me to follow the example of the passion of my God”

 “Our God Jesus Christ.”

 “There is One God who manifests himself through Jesus Christ his son.”

 “God Incarnate”

The fact that Ignatius was not rebuked, nor branded as a heretic by any of the churches or Christian leaders he sent such letters to proves that the early church, long before the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. believed that Jesus was God.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100 - 165) said of Jesus:

“...being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God”

“...both God and Lord of hosts.”

Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202) said:

“...our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King.”

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 - 215):

“...truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because he was His Son.”

Not only do the Biblical writers and the church fathers affirm that the deity of Christ predates Constantine, but now archaeology has affirmed this to be the case as well.

C. Megiddo Discovery

On November 5, 2005, Israeli archaeologists made an amazing announcement. In Megiddo, in northern Israel, archaeologists discovered the remains of the oldest Christian church ever discovered.

Evidence reveals that this church dates as far back as the second or third century A.D.

 The remains included a Greek styled mosaic entry way to the church that bore an amazing inscription.

FOXNEWS.COM reported: “Two mosaics inside the church — one covered with fish, an ancient Christian symbol that predates the cross — tell the story of a Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church in the memory “of the God Jesus Christ.”  See photos and story at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174772,00.html

Not only does this recent discovery help reinforce the fact that Jesus did actually exist, but it helps establish the fact that the church actually believed that Jesus was God long before the time of Constantine in the fourth century.

What did the inscription say?

The church was dedicated to “the God Jesus Christ.”

For Dan Brown to suggest in his book that up until A.D. 325 Jesus followers viewed him as a mortal man, demonstrates once again either an ignorance of the facts, or a willingness to suppress the facts.

The facts thoroughly and soundly refute his assertion.

We see this in the sayings of the disciples, and in the writings of the church fathers.

A third area that Dan Brown errors in has to do with…

3. The Development of Sunday Worship

Dan Brown writes this, QUOTE...

“Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagan’s veneration day of the sun. To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday morning with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute—Sun-day.” (p. 232-233)

This is also false.

All available evidence indicates that Christians were meeting together on Sundays long before Constantine.

Acts 20:7, as well as 1 Corinthians 16:2, written two hundred years before Constantine was born, talk about believers…

--coming together

--breaking bread

--and studying the Word,

…on QUOTE, “the first day of the week” which would have been Sunday, a day that the early church referred to as “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10).

It had nothing to do with Constantine.

He wasn’t even born yet.

It had everything to do with the fact that Sunday was the day of Christ’s…

     --resurrection (John 20:1)

     --and post-resurrection appearances (Jn. 20:19, 26).

Not only does the Bible tell us that the early Christians met on the first day of the week for worship, numerous other early extrabiblical sources mention this as well, including:

         -- Ignatius 

            (a Bishop in Antioch, born c. 50 A.D. died around 98 -117 A.D.)

 

         -- Justin Martyr

            (born c. 100 – died c. 165 A.D.)

 

          -- Irenaeus

            (born c. 115 -125 A.D., Bishop of Lyons in second century)

 

         -- Cyprian 

            (Bishop at Carthage, born around 200 A.D.)

 

         -- Pliny the Younger

            (the Governor of Bithynia between 111-113 A.D. )

 

        -- The Didache

            (an early church writing, written in approximately 80 A.D.)

And all of these sources predate Constantine (who was born between 274 and 280) some by 200 years!

Once again, Brown receives a failing grade in history.

Let’s fourthly consider how the book errs when it speaks of...
4. The Establishment of the Canon of Scripture

The word canon is a term that means “standard.”

When we speak of the canon of Scripture we are referring to the standard collection of 66 books that God determined should make up the Bible.

By the second century, the complete canon of Scripture exactly as we have it today was popularly recognized. 

When it comes to the establishment of the canon of Scripture, again Dan Brown makes many inaccurate statements in the book.

The Da Vinci Code says...

Leigh Teabing: “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John among them.”

Sophie: “Who chose which gospels to include?”

Teabing: “Aha! The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” (p. 231)

This is absolutely false. First off, nobody knows where in the world Dan Brown got his figure about the existence of “eighty gospels.” There is no historical evidence for such a statement.

Even counting all the heretical, apocryphal writings about Jesus there were less than 20 documents in the first four centuries that could even be called gospels or accounts of Jesus’ life.

Secondly, Constantine had nothing to do with the collation (or canonization) of the Bible. The Old Testament had been compiled by the Jews long before Jesus was even born. As for the New Testament, its formation began by the end of the first century, nearly two hundred years before Constantine was even born. (Again, Constantine was born about 274-280 A.D.)

Most of the canon of the New Testament was well known long before Constantine.

In fact, by the time of Constantine, the early church had already dismissed the many fraudulent apocryphal gospels that had arisen later in the second century.

 There is another thing I wanted to draw your attention to in this last quote. Teabing: “Aha! The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” (p. 231)

Dan Brown refers to Constantine as a “pagan” in a way to point out how ironic, it is that the Christian’s Bible was compiled by such a person.

Well, we already noted how Constantine had nothing to do with the collation or formation of the canon.

But referring to Constantine as a “pagan” here, Brown seems to deliberately ignore the fact that Constantine converted to Christianity. Was his conversion genuine? Most scholars agree that it certainly seems it was.

--He issued his famous Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. that officially ended the persecution of Christians. [It was Theodosius who made Christianity the official religion of the empire]

--He repaid the church for its terrible losses during the persecutions.

--He favored the clergy.

--He helped establish many churches throughout his empire.

--He called for the Council of Nicea, and underwrote the expenses for the Bishops to attend it.

--He even desired to be baptized near his death. 

Regarding the canon of Scripture Dan Brown also says this:

“Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that make Him godlike.” (p. 234)

Again, Brown is mistaken. There is absolutely zero historical evidence that…

            --Matthew

            --Mark

            --Luke

            --and John

            …were “embellished” in the fourth century.

Neither is there is any record that these texts were ever recalled, in order to be embellished! Recalling thousands of hand written copies of Gospels would have been impossible.

And, if an event like that happened, there surely would have been some sort of mention of it by Christians in their writings, or histories of the church.

And there is none.

Brown also states that…

“The earlier gospels [i.e. the ones Dan Brown says told the real truth about Jesus and that He was just a man] were outlawed, gathered up, and burned...” (p. 234)

First, there is no evidence that Constantine ever gave orders to destroy the Gnostic gospels, or any pagan works for that matter.

Dan Brown seems content in leaving behind the historical facts to advance his radical ideas.

And what “earlier gospels” is Dan Brown talking about?

If he is talking about the so called gospels, written by Gnostics,…

            --the Gospel of Thomas

            --the Gospel of Philip

            --the Gospel of Mary

...he is wrong for saying that these fraudulent writings were “earlier.”

Most scholars, Christian and non-Christian date the Gnostic gospels to about A.D. 250 to 350. (for example those found in the Nag Hammadi collection in northern Egypt), long after Matthew, Mark, Luke’s, and John’s Gospels were written.

There is very good evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all written before the close of the first century. (See my article WHEN WAS THE NEW TESTAMENT COMPLETED at: http://www.alwaysbeready.com/library/campbell-charlie/studies-topical/bible/biblecompleted-a.htm

Brown goes on to say, QUOTE:

“Fortunately for historians some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert.” (p. 234)

This is laughable.

To say that the Dead Sea Scrolls contained “gospels,” of any kind (let alone ones that tell the true story about Jesus) again demonstrates that Brown is an unreliable source of information.

Except for a small manuscript that some scholars believe comes from Mark’s Gospel, the Dead Sea Scrolls contained nothing that could even be called a gospel.

            Rather, the Dead Sea Scrolls included portions of...

--every Old Testament book (except Esther)

--commentaries on the Old Testament

--extrabiblical works

--secular documents

--and business records.

The Qumran community, which wrote or preserved these documents, had nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity.

Most of their documents were written centuries before Christ.

Another error that Brown makes here is when he states that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1950s, when in actuality they were discovered in 1947. On top of that there were numerous caves that housed the manuscripts, not just one.

Dan Brown suggests next…

“The scrolls [The dead Sea Scrolls] highlight...that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.” (p. 234)

Again, Dan Brown demonstrates that he has a complete disregard for the facts.

There have been many books, journals, and articles written on the Dead Scrolls (even at a lay level). And one after another, they have documented and clearly stated that the Dead Sea Scrolls did not contain anything mentioning Jesus.

The claim that…

            --the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about the real Jesus

The claim that…

            --Constantine was behind the formation of the canon

           --or was responsible for destroying Gospels he did not approve of,

            …is a ludicrous distortion of history, and of the facts.

I believe that is what led so many scholars to write books exposing the errors of The Da Vinci Code.

Let’s fifthly consider how the book errs when it comes...

5. The Singleness of Our Lord

It has long been believed by scholars from every persuasion that Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, was unmarried.

            --There is no mention of a wife when He was in ministry.

            --There was no mention of a wife at His trial and crucifixion.

            --There was no mention of a wife after His resurrection

…even though repeatedly Jesus’ other family members–

            --His mother

            --brothers

            --and sisters

            …were mentioned.

Paul the apostle, talking about his right to be married (1 Corinthians 9:5), appeals to the examples of…

            --the other apostles

            --the Lord’s brothers

            --and Peter as examples of those who were married.

If Jesus Himself had been married, certainly Paul would have mentioned Him as an example.

Such a point would have sealed his argument! But He made no such point.

More could be said in defense of Jesus’ singleness, but we’ll let that rest at that.

In The Da Vinci Code, on p. 244 Leigh Teabing states this about Jesus’ relationship to Mary Magdalene…

“The early Church needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet Jesus was a divine being [italics in the original]. Therefore, any gospels that described earthly aspects of Jesus’ life had to be omitted from the Bible. Unfortunately for the early editors, one particularly troubling earthly theme kept recurring in the gospels. Mary Magdalene. More specifically, her marriage to Jesus Christ. It’s a matter of historical record.” (p. 244)

Brown even goes on to assert that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child together named Sarah, and that it was Jesus’ intention that Mary Magdalene become the head of the church.

The book says that it was the greedy, power-hungry men in the church that kept this from happening and have conducted, QUOTE:

“the greatest cover-up in human history.”

Of course all of this is ridiculous, and scholars from every end of the spectrum have pointed out that there are no historical facts to support Brown’s far-fetched ideas.

Historian Dr. Paul Maier,

--a graduate of Harvard

--a best selling author

--now a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University

said this, QUOTE:…

“If there were even one spark of evidence from antiquity that Jesus even may have gotten married, then as a historian, I would have to weigh this evidence against the total absence of such information in either Scripture or the early church traditions. But there is no such spark—not a scintilla of evidence—anywhere in historical sources. Even where one might expect to find such claims in the bizarre, second-century, apocryphal gospels—which the Jesus Seminar and other radical voices are trying so desperately to rehabilitate—there is no reference that Jesus ever got married.” [Italics in original]

None of the Gnostic writings, that Dan Brown seems to be so fond of, whether it be the:

--so called, “Gospel of Truth”

--the “Gospel of Thomas”

--the “Gospel of Philip”

…contain any references to a marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

Even the very liberal Jesus Seminar scholar John Dominic Crossan, who rejects the Bible’s teaching on Christ’s resurrection, when asked on Beliefnet.com whether Jesus was married, said:

“There is no evidence that Jesus was married, multiple indications that he was not, and no early texts suggesting wife or children.”

One of the few things on which the vast majority of liberal and conservative scholars agree is that:

            Jesus was single.

For Dan Brown to suggest in the book that Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene is a “matter of historical record” again demonstrates his willingness to go against the facts to advance his ideas.

When it comes to...

1. The Corruption of the Scriptures

2. The Origin of the Deity of Christ

3. The Development of Sunday Worship

4. The Establishment of the Canon of Scripture

5. The Singleness of Our Lord

Dan Brown gets it all wrong.

It is clear to see for the objective, careful student of history and the Bible, that the book and the radical ideas it puts forth are not to be trusted.

I find it amazing that so many people are uncritically, believing the things Brown says in this book.

But again, this is what the Bible said would happen

2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” NASB

2 Peter 2:1-2

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” NKJV

And more and more of these kinds of teachings will come on the scene.

May I exhort you to be a noble-minded Berean. (Acts 17:11)

Study the Word of God.

Study church history.

The Bible says...

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” NASB

I encourage you to use the popularity of the novel, and the upcoming movie to look for opportunities to discuss with unbelievers…

            --the reliability of the Bible

            --and the real Jesus.

What the devil means for evil, God can use for good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20).

ABOUT CHARLIE CAMPBELL

Charlie Campbell is the Director of Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry (www.AlwaysBeReady.com) and the Director of the School of Ministry at Calvary Chapel Vista where he teaches courses on apologetics, world religions, cults, Bible prophecy, and systematic theology. 

If you would like to have Charlie Campbell speak at your church, conference, Christian school, or retreat please email info@CalvaryChapel.com.

For additional resources, audio messages, notes, DVDs, that will help you always be ready to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15) please see www.AlwaysBeReady.com

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